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The RSPCA were called to rescue horses that were trapped in a collapsing shed. The RSPCA inspector who found the three ponies said he will never forget the sound.
The pair responsible were husband and wife named Stan and Heather Strelley both aged 48. They pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act when they appeared in court on 31st January.
The RSPCA were called out to rescue the ponies in June and found that the property where they were being kept was badly dilapidated and not suitable for any horses to live.
Three ponies were trapped in a shed that didn't even have enough room for them to stand up properly. They were found in a terrible condition.
“In one paddock a number of ponies were left in a poor condition, with overgrown hooves, and cuts and scrapes to their bodies. The animals were surrounded by dangerous hazards including bricks, metal, glass, and old machinery.”
On arrival, the inspectors could hear loud banging noises coming from a collapsing shed. As they investigated closer they found the three ponies trying to push their way through sheets of fallen metal roofing.
“Three distressed ponies inside did not have room to stand up without hitting themselves on the roof. Conditions at the shed were so bad the building was bursting at the seams with soiled faeces – and there was no exit point for the ponies but again hazards, including a smouldering bonfire, piping and wood with nails protruding through surrounded the animals.”
A further 20 horses were found living amongst ‘many feet of faeces’ in another collapsing building. There were three horses that were underweight and six were lame.
The RSPCA also found bones of a deceased pony on a muck heap.
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This complex investigation found shocking neglect of a large number of animals – with ponies kept in hugely inappropriate conditions and many left to suffer with serious weight loss or lameness. We’re very grateful to the local vets, farrier, World Horse Welfare, police, and the RSPCA’s equine rehoming officers, who all supported our efforts here. I will never forget the sound of hearing a pony trying to bang his way out of a collapsed shed. It was a horrific discovery – with three ponies trapped beneath fallen metal roofing sheets, in conditions so horrendous I was left cold. They were desperate to get out, but had no way out before we arrived.
“Remarkably, both individuals were showing ponies – and continued to do so during our investigations. There was a clear priorities problem with some animals groomed and treated far better while others were left in appalling conditions. It was one rule for some and another for the others.”
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